Rabu, 31 Juli 2013

PALEMBANG GEARS UP TO HOST THIRD ISLAMIC SOLIDARITY GAMES by Fardah

     Jakarta, July 31, 2013 (Antara) - The controversy over the host city of  the Third Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) is finally over following the signing of  a new presidential decree on the implementation of the ISG 2013.
         "Thank God, the Presidential Decree No. 23/2013 (the amendment of the presidential decree no. 15/2012) on the ISG 2013 was signed by the President. It's confirmed that the Third ISG will be held in Palembang (South Sumatra Province) from September 22 to October 1," Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Roy Suryo said in Jakarta on July 29.
         The new decree effective per July 29 is the legal basis for moving the ISG host city from initially Pekanbaru, Riau Province, to Palembang.
        "Everything is on the right track," the minister said, adding that a technical delegation of the Islamic Solidarity Sport Federation (ISSF) was scheduled to arrive in Palembang on July 30, 2013, to inspect the ISG venue.
    The Islamic Solidarity Games Federation (ISSF) is the organization that is responsible for the direction and control of the ISG.    
   Earlier the Indonesian government planned to hold the ISG 2013  in Pekanbaru from June 6 to 17, 2013. But due to some problems, the government had decided to move the venue to Jakarta and postpone the implementation to September 22-October 1, 2013.
        According to Minister Suryo, the plan to move the venue to Jakarta was based on suggestions made by the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI),  the National Sports Committee (KONI), and the ministry's technical team because the construction works of some facilities and infrastructure for the games in Pekanbaru were not yet finished.
        Another consideration to move the ISG's venue was the fact that Riau Governor Rusli Zainal had been named as a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in a bribery case related to
the implementation of the National Games (PON) in Pekanbaru last year.
        The issue on unsolved debt arrears of the PON main stadium construction amounting Rp240 billion to a consortium had added the considerations for moving the venue from Pekanbaru at that time.
        However, some Riau's officials were disappointed with the plan to move the venue from Pekanbaru to Jakarta.
        "I hope the venue of ISG not to be moved," Emrizal Pakis, the deputy chairman of the Riau organizing committee of the ISG 2013, said in April 2014.
         Riau Governor Rusli Zainal was also very disappointed and considered the minister's decision as unilateral action.
         "I understand the minister made such a unilateral decision because he is new in the ministerial post. He does not know how we have worked so hard over the last three years to make preparations for the ISG 2013," Zainal told the press on April 23, 2013.
         But, in a coordinating meeting which was held in Jakarta on July 2, 2013, and attended by among others Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Roy Suryo and Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali, the government changed its plan and decided  to move the venue of the Third ISG from Pekanbaru to Palembang, instead of Jakarta.
         Palembang has been considered the appropriate city to host the Third ISG because it has a lot of experiences in hosting national and international sport events such as the 24th SEA Games in 2011.
         Twenty five countries have confirmed their participation in the Third ISG, namely Maldives, Syria, Oman, Brunei Darussalam, Iraq, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Tunisia, Iran, Gambia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Azerbaijan, Suriname, Mozambique, Albania, Algeria, Guinea, Turkey and Indonesia.
         The Games will have around 1,759 athletes and 624 officials, and hold 13 sports to be competed, such as swimming, gymnastic, athletic, football, taekwondo, weightlifting, karate, badminton,
archery, shooting, and basketball.
        During the sports event, three languages, namely English, Arabic and Spanish, will be used because the Games will be participated by among other things Middle Eastern, former Soviet, and Southeast Asian  countries, Meiriza of the ISG organizing committee, said in Palembang recently.
        Besides, the South Sumatra authorities will strengthen the security measures during the Games because some participants of the ISG will come from conflict-affected countries, Maryama Butam, the general secretary of the South Sumatra sports committee, explained recently.
         The organizing committee has also prepared facilities for chartered airplanes because some foreign contingents have informed that they will come to Palembang by chartered planes.
          Five star hotels have also been made ready to accommodate foreign athletes and officials who do not want to stay in the athlete hostels.
          To help make the Games a success, Palembang's Immigration Office  is ready to provide the best services for the athletes and officers from various countries.
         "Based on information from the organizing committee, the games will be attended by 1,759 athletes and 624 officials from 25  Islamic countries, including Indonesia," the Palembang Immigration Office's spokesman Sarwono T Indrijanto said recently.
          Sarwono said that his office would coordinate with the relevant agencies so that  all matters relating to immigration could be prepared.
          "The information we received earlier mentioned that most of the foreign athletes will enter Palembang though Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport. But some of the athletes are reported to have plans to fly
directly from their countries to Palembang airport," he said.
         Palembang will use the ISG 2013 as an opportunity to promote its economic potentials including its famous woven clothes, by organizing an embroidered clothing festival from September 22 to October 1.
        "We will introduce the national woven clothes to ISG participants through a festival that will enliven the sports tournament of Islamic countries," Head of the South Sumatra Culture and Tourism Office Toni
Panggarbesi said.
         The woven clothing locally known as "songket" is a tradisional weaving art in which gold threads are woven by hand into a very tightly woven to create geometric designs.
         Another important element being prepared by the South Sumatra administration to support the ISG 2013 is a new logo and mascot of the Games.
         "As President Yudhoyono signed the presidential decree on the ISG implementation on July 29, we will soon launch the Games' logo and mascot," Muddai Madang of the ISG organizing committee, said.
        The logo of the Third ISG will feature the Ampera Bridge, the icon of South Sumatra.
          The First ISG was held in 2005 in Saudi Arabia. The supposed second event was cancelled after it had been originally scheduled to take place in October 2009 in Iran, following a dispute between Iran
and the Arab World over the use of the term Persian Gulf in logos for the Games.      ***4***
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(T.F001/A/F. Assegaf/A/A. Abdussalam) 31-07-2013 16:24:23

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